Many of the ideas I talk about are derived from those of the philosophies of the ancient world. The main concept here is living well and cultivating a good life.
This idea is found in classical literature in one form or another. The drive towards a better life experience seems universal and timeless. The goal has been given several names: flourishing, contentment, well-being, etc. but the one that covers them all is…happiness.
I encountered this book a while back and it remains a fascinating exploration of the “spiritual exercises” in ancient Greece and Rome. It reminds us that in its original forms, and unlike how it is treated in academia today, philosophy truly was and can again be a way of life.
From the Amazon description
Pierre Hadot is arguably one of the most influential and wide-ranging historians of ancient philosophy writing today. As well as having an important influence on the work of Michel Foucault, Hadot’s work has been pivotal in the development of contemporary French philosophy. His work is currently concerned with a redefinition of modern philosophy through a study of ancient life and ancient philosophical texts.
This book presents a history of spiritual exercises from Socrates to early Christianity, an account of their decline in modern philosophy, and a discussion of the different conceptions of philosophy that have accompanied the trajectory and fate of the theory and practice of spiritual exercises. Hadot’s book demonstrates the extent to which philosophy has been, and still is, above all else a way of seeing and of being in the world.